Centered on practices of the body-human bodies, the “body politic”--Bodies and Disciplines considers a fascinating and largely uncanonical group of texts, as well as public dramas, rituals, and spectacles, from multidisciplinary perspectives. These essays consider the way the human body is subjected to educational discipline, to corporate celebration, and to the production of gendered identity through the experiences of marriage and childbirth. Among the topics explored are the “theatrics of punishment,” including legal mutilation; the representation of the body of Christ as social ritual; adolescent misbehavior and its treatment; and conflicting ecclesiastical and lay models of sexual behavior. The contributors also trace the definition of “poor,” “foreign,” and “dissident” bodies, examining private and public issues surrounding social identities.
The result is a volume that incorporates insights from history, literature, medieval studies, and critical theory, drawing from the strengths of each discipline to illuminate a relatively little-studied period. Insightful and momentous, Bodies and Disciplines marks an important intervention in the development of cultural studies of late medieval England.
Contributors: Sarah Beckwith, U of Pittsburgh; Rita Copeland, U of Minnesota; Gail McMurray Gibson, Davidson College; Ralph Hanna III, U of California, Riverside; Felicity Heal, Oxford U; Ruth Mazo Karras, Temple U; Seth Lerer, Stanford U; Marjorie K. McIntosh, U of Colorado, Boulder; Miri Rubin, Oxford U; Paul Strohm, Indiana U.